Texas Cops Cite Gangs As Justification For Unconstitutional Checkpoints

In a practice that officials acknowledge has been  ongoing for more than a year now, cops in Texas are setting up roadside  checkpoints and photographing “suspects”, citing gang culture as a  justification.

The McAllen Monitor reports that the South Texas Civil Rights  Project, based in Alamo, has taken up issue with the San Juan Police Department,  noting that “what they’re doing could be unconstitutional.”

“Police have always been pressing against  restrictions the Constitution puts on protecting rights of individuals.” STCRP  lawyer Joseph Martin said in response to the increase in the use of checkpoints.

“Passengers are questioned and, in certain  instances, individuals are asked by investigators to voluntarily submit to  having photographs taken of their gang-affiliated tattoos. The information is  then vetted for inclusion in a state database.” reports the Monitor.

While police claim that the checkpoints are  limited and do not target innocent people, the report states that “most cars  attempting to pass through are stopped.”

Police have also admitted that while the  checkpoints are part of a larger effort to curtail gang activity, they are also  being used to perform checks for insurance, seatbelts and driver’s licenses.

The STCRP notes that the checkpoint activity most  likely represents a violation of the Fourth Amendment, and constitutes  unreasonable search and seizure.

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